And the prophet came to the king of Israel, and said to him, Go, strengthen yourself, and mark, and see what you do: for at the return of the year the king of Syria will come up against you.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)The return of the year.—The early part of the next year, after the winter was over, “when kings go out to battle” (2Samuel 11:1).1 Kings 20:22. Go, strengthen thyself, and mark, and see, &c. — Consider what is necessary for thee to do by way of preparation, and take care that nothing be wanting to oppose the designs of the Syrians against thee, who will certainly return and renew the fight next year. The enemies of the children of God are restless in their malice, and though they may take some breathing-time for themselves, they are still breathing out slaughter against the church: it therefore concerns always to expect our spiritual enemies, and to mark and see what we do.
At the return of the year - i. e., "When the season for military operations again comes round." The wars of the Oriental monarchs at this time, like those of early Rome, were almost always of the nature of annual incursions into the territories of their neighbors, begun in spring and terminating in early autumn. Sustained invasions, lasting over the winter into a second or a third year, are not found until the time of Shalmaneser 2 Kings 17:5; 2 Kings 18:9-10, and do not become common until the Median and Babylonian period.
at the return of the year—that is, in spring, when, on the cessation of the rainy season, military campaigns (2Sa 11:1), were anciently begun. It happened as the prophet had forewarned. Brooding over their late disastrous defeat, the attendants of Ben-hadad ascribed the misfortune to two causes—the one arose from the principles of heathenism which led them to consider the gods of Israel as "gods of the hills"; whereas their power to aid the Israelites would be gone if the battle was maintained on the plains. The other cause to which the Syrian courtiers traced their defeat at Samaria, was the presence of the tributary kings, who had probably been the first to take flight; and they recommended "captains to be put in their rooms." Approving of these recommendations, Ben-hadad renewed his invasion of Israel the next spring by the siege of Aphek in the valley of Jezreel (compare 1Sa 29:1, with 1Sa 28:4), not far from En-dor.Mark, and see what thou doest; consider what is fit and necessary for thee to do by way of preparation, or prevention.
At the return of the year; next year about this time, when the season comes of going forth to battle; of which see 2 Samuel 11:1 1 Chronicles 20:1 2 Chronicles 36:10.
and said unto him, go, strengthen thyself; exhorted him to fortify his cities, especially Samaria, and increase his army, that he might be able to oppose the king of Syria:
and mark, and see what thou doest: observe his moral and religious actions, and take heed that he did not offend the Lord by them, as well as make military preparations:
for at the return of the year the king of Syria will come up against thee; about the same time in the next year, at the spring of the year, when kings go out to war, see 2 Samuel 11:1.And the prophet came to the king of Israel, and said unto him, Go, strengthen thyself, and mark, and see what thou doest: for at the return of the year the king of Syria will come up against thee.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)22–34. The Syrians prepare another army, and are again defeated. ahab makes a covenant with Ben-hadad (Not in Chronicles)
22. the prophet came to the king] R.V. came near as in 1 Kings 20:13; 1 Kings 20:28. See on 13.
mark, and see] i.e. Take every possible precaution. Look out for what is best to be done.
at the return of the year] i.e. When the fitting season for taking the field has again come round. Cf. 2 Samuel 11:1, ‘after the year was expired, at the time when kings go forth to battle’.Verse 22. - And the prophet [obviously the same prophet] came to the king of Israel, and said unto him, Go, strengthen thyself [both as to army and to city], and mark, and see what thou doest ["Take every precaution. Don't think that the danger is past"]: for at the return of the year [in the following spring. There was a favourite time for campaigns (2 Samuel 11:1), viz., when the rainy season was past. Several late wars, notably those of our own armies in Africa and Afghanistan, have been considerably influenced by the seasons. And the wars of ancient times were almost universally summer raids. "Sustained invasions, lasting over the winter, are not found until the time of Shalmaneser" (2 Kings 17:5; 2 Kings 18:9 10, Rawlinson)] the king of Syria will come [Heb. cometh] up against thee. 1 Kings 20:19), amounted to 7000 men. And at noon, when Benhadad and his thirty-two auxiliary kings were intoxicated at a carousal in the booths (שׁכּור שׁתה as in 1 Kings 16:9), he ordered his men to advance, with the servants of the provincial governors taking the lead. The 7000 men are not to be regarded as the 7000 mentioned in 1 Kings 19:18, who had not bowed their knee before Baal, as Rashi supposes, although the sameness in the numbers is apparently not accidental; but in both cases the number of the covenant people existing in Israel is indicated, though in 1 Kings 19:18 and 7000 constitute the ἐκλογή of the true Israel, whereas in the verse before us they are merely the fighting men whom the Lord had left to Ahab for the defence of his kingdom.
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